I don’t know how many of you are indie-rock music lovers or if by chance you have this song on your iPod, but “Can’t Go Back Now” by The Weepies has been resonating with me lately.
Here’s a sample of the lyrics, and parts that have really hit me:
“Yesterday, when you were young,
Everything you needed done was done for you.
Now you do it on your own
But you find you’re all alone,
What can you do?
You and me walk on
Cause you can’t go back now.
I can’t really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.”
I grew up in a very, very religious home (Mormon, if you’re wondering). Church on Sunday (the 3-block hour) was required in our family, along with no TV, video games, or “innappropriate” music (anything wasn’t church hymns). I just accepted and flowed with it when I was little- it was all I knew. Neighbors who were out mowing the lawn, going to work, doing ANYTHING but what we were on Sundays were frowned upon. I wasn’t allowed to dress in tank tops, shorts that were hemmed higher than my knee; I wasn’t allowed to curse, drink alcohol (I still don’t, but for fat burning purposes, and because I don’t like the idea of being out of control), smoke, date non-Mormons. And don’t even get me started on (shhh) s-e-x. (And for that purpose, I’m still having a hard time being vulnerable in that way. Everyone in our Mormon community, my parents included, made sex seem so dirty, like the only purpose was for child-bearing and not just a normal, healthy, important part of a happy marriage. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad)
Looking back, a lot of it was for my own well-being and health, but so much of it was given to me, fed to me, without my consent or choice. You can’t shield your children forever- they will eventually see and/or experience the things you are keeping from them. If you really want to protect them, you help them make their own decisions. Yes, you do play part and help guide them, but you do not make choices for them.
Growing up, I realize this force-feeding extended into learning about nutrition (nil), exercise (only if you were gifted in sports), about body image (don’t spend much time on your hair/makeup/clothes or else you are vain, vain, vain).
It isn’t a surprise that I’ve slowly fallen away from said church. My parents are very upset with my decision and really hope I’ll return someday (my mom, anyway. Dad is just a “Sunday Mormon” and only lives that way 1/7 of the week). And perhaps I will. But if I do, it’ll be because I want to be there and see the value in it, not because that’s what’s “expected” of me.
The real adult world opens up a vast variety of different lifestyles, of different ideas. I want to begin to see who I really am and who I can create myself to be, with my own hard work and thoughts. I should at least be given that right, correct?
How have you dealt with other’s thoughts/feelings pushed upon you? Did you cave and go with them (and fester with resentment) or did you stand your ground, and how did it go?